Cardiac symptom attribution and knowledge of the symptoms of acute myocardial infarction: a systematic review
BMC Cardiovascular Disorders
Background Since the knowledge of the symptoms of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) may reduce the decision time for patients to seek help in case of an AMI, we aimed to summarize evidence on the knowledge of the AMI symptoms and the symptom attribution in case of an acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Methods Therefore, we systematically searched the databases PubMed, CINAHL, Embase, and Cochrane Library for relevant studies published between January 1, 2008 and 2019 (last search August 1, 2019).
... August 1, 2019). Results A total of 86 studies were included, with a composite sample size of 354,497 participants. The weighted mean of the knowledge scores for the symptoms of AMI of 14,420 participants from the general population, was 42.1% (when maximum score was considered 100%) and 69.5% for 7642 cardiac patients. There was a substantially better level of knowledge for six symptoms ('chest pain or discomfort', 'shortness of breath', 'pain or discomfort in arms or shoulders', 'feeling weak, lightheaded, or faint', 'pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back', and 'sweating') (49.8–88.5%) compared to the four less obvious/atypical symptoms 'stomach or abdominal discomfort', 'nausea or vomiting', 'headache', and 'feeling of anxiety' (8.7–36.7%). Only 45.1% of 14,843 patients, who experienced ACS, have correctly attributed their symptoms to a cardiac cause. Conclusion In conclusion, we found a moderate to good knowledge of "classic" and insufficient knowledge of less obvious symptoms of AMI. This might suggest that increasing knowledge about less obvious symptoms of AMI could be beneficial. It appears also important to address cardiac attribution of symptoms.